Giant Onion Rings

Platter of Donuts or Pile of Onion Rings?

You be the judge…

Giant Onion Rings

Golden, deep-fried, hot bready rings of goodness.

Giant Onion Rings 2

Okay, maybe it’s not THAT big of a challenge to figure out. They’re onion rings. But they’re the biggest, most ridiculous onion rings ever. ML and I stumbled upon these treasures at Stingrays sports bar in Port Aransas, TX. Obviously when multiple ESers travel together, intense amounts of food will be discovered, ordered, and conquered. I don’t think these photos accurately portray how huge this pile of onion rings was, and how big each individual ring was.The avocado ranch dip on the side didn’t hurt the situation either.

It you’re wondering, of course we ate them all. Duh.

Your Mom’s So Fat, She Wrapped Her Burger in Bacon

I’m shocked to be alive and writing this to you. Not only did I somehow survive the liver assault that is SXSW, but I also survived the most intense burger I’ve ever eaten.

Your Mom’s Burgers in East Austin specializes in cute language (condiments are called “bling”) and huge burger patties stuffed with all sorts of rich deliciousness, named after celebrities. After an afternoon of day drinking in the sun, I was starving and ready for some meaty indulgence.

I treated my arteries to the Willie Nelson: a 1/2lb burger stuffed with American cheese, tossed in honey BBQ sauce, wrapped in bacon, topped in a giant onion ring, covered in more special BBQ sauce, and served between two slabs of Texas toast. A cross shot:

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Plus-Size Vegas: The Peppermill

To celebrate/mourn the end of the summer, I did what any old-fashioned, hard-drinking American girl would do: hopped a flight to Vegas for a weekend of pool parties, 52-oz. margaritas, slot machines, and food exploration. I know it’s important to look hot in Vegas, and part of looking hot is not stuffing your face with so much buffet food that you get all bloated and oily. That’s why I took it relatively easy until the final day of our trip, when I said “screw it” and headed down to the old end of the Strip to try out a diner I had read about and was desperate to experience for myself: the Peppermill, where everything is larger than life.

The Peppermill is equally lauded for its immense portions of epically greasy diner food and its gloriously tacky atmosphere. Upon entering the Pep, the hostess will probably say something like “Okay, for three?  It’ll be about 20 minutes. But you’re welcome to wait in our lounge…?” Yes, yes, YES. You will wait in the magnificent Fireside Lounge!

It looks like Xanadu crashed into a jungle, and then disco balls covered the sky, then half of the wildlife in the jungle turned into flatscreen TVs that blare blurry 80s music video programming. How’s that for a mental picture? Can you imagine it? Well, here’s a taste:

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Ancho Chile Onion Ring Quesadilla

I think it has become apparent that I’m not one for following Michelle Obama’s healthy eating campaign. Considering that my recent creations have included nacho-stuffed potato skins and mac ‘n’ cheese in a grilled cheese, some might argue I’m actually a secret Palin operative. I’m not, I promise you. I just like to fry things.

My better half is a meat and potatoes kinda guy — no greens, no fruit and no vegetables. So once in a while I like to try cooking something that I know he’ll enjoy. In this case I combined his love of Mexican food with our combined love of fried food. I present to you the Ancho Chile Onion Ring Quesadilla.

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Eating on the Edge: City Island


Endless Simmer’s NYC-based tasting team is bypassing the cutesy outer borough neighborhoods and taking the subway to the end of the line, then getting on a bus and taking that to the end of the line, then seeing what we can find to eat.

This week’s destination — City Island — is seriously the edge-edge-edge of New York City. It’s kind of like an adorable New England fishing village, except it’s actually in The Bronx, retains just a smidge of that New York City grime, and you can get there on the MTA bus. Take the 6 train all the way to the end of the line, then hop on the Bx29 bus, which takes you across a bridge onto this amazing little island where they’ll deep-fry anything that swims. Just hope this fish isn’t too local.

frogs legs

Since we came this far, we figured we might as well go all the way to the water’s edge, where Tony’s Pier offers lunch at picnic tables right on the sound. As you can see, inside NYC or not, they’ve got pretty much the whole nine yards when it comes to summer-y fried seafood. Yes, even frog’s legs, which I’m pretty sure I disapprove of eating anywhere outside of Paris, but definitely in The Bronx.

fried clams

Instead I went with the pretty perfect fried clam strips meal. Most excitedly, it turns out Tony’s has pioneered a new form of serving a five-course meal. I call it the slow reveal. This looks like just a giant pile of fried clams, with a super-sad side salad thrown in for good measure, right? Wrong!

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